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Even video games have unofficial holidays

Published 10:02am Thursday, July 24, 2014

Guest Column by Trey Mewes

Video games are a surprisingly mainstream hobby.

Case in point: Last month, gamers around the world supposedly celebrated Video Games Day. July 8 is apparently the day when players around the world can celebrate video games and video game culture, from “Pong” to “Watch Dogs” and “Mario Kart 8.”

This is not to be confused with National Video Games Day, which is on Sept. 12. Only U.S. gamers celebrate video games in September.

These are but two days out of the year when video games are celebrated, or so says the Internet. There’s plenty of articles from years past on those holidays, after all. Yet I can’t seem to find any sort of official proclamation by a government — any government — declaring game celebrations for either of those days.

That doesn’t mean we can’t have unofficial holidays. Sept. 12 is also National Chocolate Milkshake Day, after all.

But it’s enjoyable to see people claim holidays to celebrate gaming culture. Games have become ingrained in our society, a hobby-turned-zeitgeist that has spawned traditions, fundraisers, art, philosophical discussions and other reflections of the way we live and dream.

That’s not to say an official video game holiday, let alone video games, will be officially recognized any time soon. Though fictional politician Frank Underwood has a professed love of games on Netflix’s “House of Cards,” real politicians have long chastised games and the gaming industry for capturing the minds of children and spreading inactivity.

Even President Barack Obama publicly hated on games during his first year in office, when he urged children to “step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside” in a speech to the American Medical Association in 2009.

Like every other medium, it’s going to take time to accept video games throughout society. I’m willing to bet some of you reading this column aren’t convinced that gaming is a worthwhile hobby. Give it time, and perhaps an iPad game or two.

Gaming is a common pastime. That’s a fact worth celebrating, no matter what day it is.

 

Trey Mewes is a reporter for the Austin Daily Herald.